Lourdes is situated in the south-west of France at the base of the Pyrenees. The population of this town is only 17,000 but it sees an astounding 5,000,000 visitors every year. It is surrounded by three peaks over 1,000 m in height and dotted with numerous farms.
Lourdes enjoys a slightly extreme climate with warm summers and cold, dry winters. The mountainous region also sees snow and frost in the winter. With temperatures averaging at 20°C, June to September is the best time for travel, but there may be heavy rainfall.
Lourdes was originally a fortified market town. In the late 1800s, a sighting of the Virgin Mary by a village girl, Bernadette, turned it into one of the most important Christian pilgrimage sites. Today, the commercial exploitation of the pilgrimage disappoints many visiting devotees.
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